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The World After Bush Part I: Iraq

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I said in my last article that the proposed U.S. arms sale to the gulf is a possible sign that a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq might be closer than Bush wants to admit. With all my conviction I say: there will be no U.S. victory in Iraq and eventually they will have to pullout, if not before Bush leaves office then sometime soon after.

When reading an article about the continued violence in Somalia with my last article still fresh in my mind, I asked myself the question, where will the world be after the Bush administration? Further, will things calm down, or have the Neocons caused so much friction and meddled so much that the explosion of violence in so many places around the world will continue to worsen?

I will attempt to answer my questions in a series of articles, and through the course will also inadvertently show why electing the son of a U.S. President, as President is perhaps a mistake, that should not be repeated.

In most of the world’s current conflict zones the U.S. has had some involvement, but never has their involvement been as catastrophic as under (the infantile megalomaniac) President Bush Junior.

Part I: Iraq

In Iraq for decades the U.S. has made mistake after mistake, funding, arming and otherwise cosying up to the maniac Saddam Hussein throughout the 80’s and early 90’s — under the same policy that the U.S. follows time after time, always to the world’s detriment: my enemy’s enemy is my friend. Bush Junior’s predecessors learned from their mistakes when Saddam invaded Kuwait late 1990, therein doing the very thing his U.S. funding was supposed to stop Iran (their common enemy), doing: threatening the vital oil supplies of the Middle East.

Bush Senior was in charge when the U.S. teamed up with the U.N. to drive Saddam’s forces back out of Kuwait. In doing so he decided to start uprisings in Iraq’s oppressed Shiite and Kurdish communities, in television addresses promising their uprisings would receive U.S. support to topple Saddam. Help never came, Saddam’s forces fled Kuwait and crushed the revolts — thousands were killed in reprisals.

The reason Bush Senior didn’t send forces on into Iraq is likely the same reason that the current occupation is a disaster: Saddam’s oppression keeping the lid on a sectarian powder keg.

Though I personally believe if Bush Senior had ordered U.S. troops to chase Saddam’s fleeing forces into Iraq and finish the job — even a U.S. force alone — chasing Saddam’s men into the Shiite uprising and a war on two fronts, with the Kurdish uprising causing a third front, would have made for an easy victory.

An easy victory unlike that of the 2003 war, because the Shiite’s and Kurds wouldn’t have hated and mistrusted the U.S. for the thousands killed when they revolted on Bush Snr’s word. That also being the reason why 2003’s battle for hearts and minds was lost before it begun.

Bush Junior went ahead and invaded Iraq either because he wanted to prove he had more bottle than his daddy and thought like many sons do, that anything their dad can do they can do better. Or he knew Iraq would turn out like it has but decided to go in for their oil anyway. I’ll let you decide.

Either way, the tyrant successfully toppled in the U.S. invasion has been replaced with hundreds of tyrants — each as maniacal and vindictive but with nobody at all to answer to. At least with Saddam we could impose sanctions and threaten to invade. Now we’ve invaded, what is left to do about the sectarian death squads.

Few deny that the forces in Iraq are doing very little to stop the violence, in fact some say they are making it worse, but what is the alternative?

A U.S. withdrawal will only see the sectarian violence worsen. Iraq will descend into a civil war, fuelled by the continuing proxy war already being fought between the Arab states and Iran using their sectarian soldiers in Iraq. The latter is another war that will worsen after a U.S. withdrawal, and one that won’t be helped by the billions of dollars worth of arms being sold to the Arabs — by guess who, the Bush administration.

So, whether the Iraq withdrawal happens before Bush leaves office or after, there is absolutely no chance that the situation in Iraq will calm down after the Bush administration leaves office and the U.S. pulls out of Iraq.

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About Liam Bailey

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    This particular article of yours is actually intelligent. It makes the often ignored point that unseating Saddam Hussein would have been relatively easy in 1991. But for the bumbling of George Bush, there could be three relatively stable regimes in Mesopotamia today, with at least one or two under the heavy heel of American influence.

    From a Biblical point of view, the American war on the Assyrian plains and threats to attack Iran are all one war, even if they are separated by twelve contentious years of “peace”. But from the point of view of practical politics (or successful military strategy – take your pick), it was necessary to strike while the iron was hot. George Walker Bush did not understand this and the American invasion and occupation of Assyria will be the downfall of the American Republic; mark my words.

    There is the one point that you do not cover – the essential weakness of the article – its premise. One needs to consider that events may transpire in such a way that Mr. Bush will see a path to retaining the presidency in 2009 and beyond.

    I do not expect your article on Israel and the western edge of Asia to be as intelligently written as this one has been, but it’s only fair to give you a chance…

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    I actually thought this was one of his weaker articles, though it avoided such ridiculousness as your suggestion that Bush would somehow retain power after his two terms are up.

    The problem is that Liam misses some obvious facts in his desire to put blame on Bush, particularly the reality that even if the US had not intervened a second time in Iraq, some sort of conflict would have been inevitable on the fall of Saddam, even if from natural causes, and that the conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia was going to happen in some form or other, even if played out on a different battlefield.

    I do give him points for realizing that the conflict in Iraq is mostly driven by the two major religious factions working through surrogates there, rather than by the US presence, which just forms a convenient excuse for the struggle over who will lead the new caliphate.

    Dave

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    “…though it avoided such ridiculousness as your suggestion that Bush would somehow retain power after his two terms are up.”

    Dave,

    Until the expulsion of 10,000 Jews from Gush Qatif, I never would have thought it was possible for a dictatorship to arise in America. When I saw things I viewed as impossible happening in front of my eyes, I began to understand that the world was very different from what I had imagined it to be – I had to look again at Robert Ringer’s book Winning Through Intimidation to understand that reality was not the stuff of my desires. One gets so lost in one’s desires for what ought to be that it is easy to forget how little we actually mean in the world.

    Sorry, Dave. While the wolf of open dictatorship may not actually arrive and the process of replacing the chief executive in America may continue, the democracy that you believe in, and that I used to believe in is gone.

  • troll

    never really was

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Ruvy, I’ve never believed in democracy. It’s mob rule – rule by the rabble. If anything one of the problems we face in America is too much democracy and too many people trying to use democracy to justify the abuse of power.

    The dictatorship thing just isn’t happening, however. No evidence to support the theory… democracy and the demagoguery that goes with it hasn’t gotten that far yet.

    Dave

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    “…I’ve never believed in democracy. It’s mob rule – rule by the rabble.”

    Dave, it’s an academic question now – I live here in Israel and won’t get offended by an honest answer. But how would you define rabble? And would it include people who manage Burger Kings and McDonalds’, for example? What gets the average Yank out of your rabble class and into the potential ruling class, or at least the class that gets somehow consulted when the élites come to their decisions?

  • Alec

    Liam – RE: I said in my last article that the proposed U.S. arms sale to the gulf is a possible sign that a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq might be closer than Bush wants to admit.

    I’m not too sure about this. The arms sales to the Saudis may be little more than a cover to appease them while also selling arms to Israel. The Saudis want weapons as an ego stroke. But in real terms, no Middle East Muslim power, with the possible exceptions of Pakistan and Turkey, is capable of fielding a competent military force. The arms sales cannot provide any meaninful stability to the region.

    RE: A U.S. withdrawal will only see the sectarian violence worsen.

    Here we are between a rock and a hard place. Sectarian violence will worsen no matter what the US does.

    RE: The reason Bush Senior didn’t send forces on into Iraq is likely the same reason that the current occupation is a disaster: Saddam’s oppression keeping the lid on a sectarian powder keg.

    This is probably true. However, US meddling in the Middle East, on the part of both Democrats and Republicans, likely helped motivate Osama bin Laden. Ironically, taking out Saddam helped bin Laden because, as Liam notes, Saddam kept a lid on sectarian activity within Iraq. On the other hand, Islamic fundamentalists are attempting to target those who they perceive to be US puppets, which makes in harder for US-supported strong men to rule, whether wisely or with an iron-fist.

    RE: An easy victory unlike that of the 2003 war, because the Shiite’s and Kurds wouldn’t have hated and mistrusted the U.S. for the thousands killed when they revolted on Bush Snr’s word.

    The Kurds are still our allies. Unfortunately, an incoming president, whether Republican or Democrat, may end up sacrificing the Kurds again in order to maintain relations with Turkey. The Kurds are in the most precarious situation of any of the three major groups in Iraq. The Shiites will ruthlessly suppress them if they remain a part of Iraq, but the Turks (and the Iranians) will seek to suppress them if they attempt to break away.

    However, any supposed love that the Shia had for the US was little more than a fantasy fueled by frauds like Chalabi.

    The sad fact is that there is no war on terror being fought in Iraq that has anything to do with the US. The Shia and the Sunnis are fighting for their own perceptions of their national interest. I have no idea who Al Queda thinks that they are fighting for, but neither does Bush.

    Along with this, fundamentalists in Pakistan are attempting to topple the regime there, which again weakens any US influence in the region.

    The wild card in all this is that there if some Islamic fundamentalist factions are like the Taliban, then religious purity might be more important to them than oil sales, which then gives them no particular reason to care about the impact of their actions on the US or any other industrial country. Thus, neither the US, nor China nor any other potential superpower has any leverage to make a deal with any possible fundamentalist regime.

    Bush is also getting played by the Saudis, who may still have some influence over some militant factions, but who could also be caught up in the aftermath of fundamentalist frenzy.

    No matter how you look at it, Bush stepped into it by toppling Saddam Hussein, and none of the blather that we are hearing from him or the Republican presidential contenders about winning the war on terror can disguise the enormity of Dubya’s miscalculation. Also unfortunate is the likelihood that simply pulling out, as some Democrats (and Ron Paul) would want, will not necessarily lead to any cooling of tensions.

  • Lumpy

    Miscalculation it may appear, but given the proven threat of islamic terrorism, getting them fighting each other rather than us seems kind of clever to me.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=gonzo%20marx gonzo marx

    “Miscalculation it may appear, but given the proven threat of islamic terrorism, getting them fighting each other rather than us seems kind of clever to me.”

    WTF?

    as opposed to, let’s say….taking out bin Laden, Mullah Omar and the rest of the upper echelon of the real al Qaeda in Afghanistan/Pakistan?

    rather than that, you think it is ok to destabilize a regime that was bad, but under control, give all kinds of bad guys a place to practice on OUR soldiers in THEIR homecourt and preside over a bloody civil war?

    that’s your idea of “clever”, Lumpy?

    not mine

    Excelsior?

  • Alec

    Lumpy – RE: but given the proven threat of islamic terrorism…

    There ain’t NO proven threat of Islamic terrorism. The only question is how long conservatives are going to continue to delude themselves about this.

    Consider the recent mosque incident in Pakistan. The fundamentalists shouted, “If you don’t transform the state into a fundamentalist society, we will kill ourselves!”

    What the hell kind of threat is that? And what happened? One cleric tried to sneak away dressed as a woman and the other fundamentalists ended up being crushed.

    The Palestinians get more control in their territories and immediately start fighting each other. The Taliban in Afghanistan keep trying to pull that country back into the 9th century.

    In parts of France and England, some Muslim communities refuse to adapt to modern society, push themselves deeper into economically backwards fundamentalist ghettoes, and then whine and riot when the rest of the country refuses to accomodate their backwardness.

    The godless secular West is not going to convert to Islam anytime soon. Committed Christians, Jews and other religious people in the industrial West are not converting to Islam. Neither India nor China nor Japan are going to convert to Islam. By the way, how many Muslims are there in Japan? Here’s a hint. Practically none.

    There really is no competent army anywhere in the Muslim world, and Islamic fundamentalism is incompatible with a professional military. Even Saddam’s supposedly capable army proved to be a mirage, in part because Saddam didn’t trust any of his officers enough to let them develop their units into capable, professional forces.

    Yes, there can be serious, deadly terrorist threats. But have years of suicide bombers and other attacks brought Israel down? The short answer, of course, is no.

    Islamic fundamentalism is like that tape at the beginning of each episode of “Mission: Impossible.” It self-destructs.

    Islamic fundamentalism has had some success in under-developed regions such as Darfur. But that’s about it.

    Given an opportunity to rebuild their country after the fall of Saddam, Iraqi Sunni and Shiite extremists chase moderates out of the country and then set on each other like rabid dogs, more interested in killing each other than in ejecting the US from the country.

    The really sad thing is that some moderate Muslims are either beginning to believe the BS of the extremists, or are too cowed to mount an effective resistance. But moderates who refuse to offer an alternative and instead take the side of the extremists are essentially committing suicide.

    If there were another large scale suicide attack in the US, or if, worse case, some Islamic group unleashed a “suitcase nuke” or similar device, there might be an hysterical call to simply take over the oil fields in the Middle East and to launch punitive strikes against various Middle Eastern regimes. And if this kind of retribution were to be unleashed, what, exactly, could any Muslim country do to prevent it?

    And so, I ask, exactly where is this supposed Islamic threat, except in the intellectual masturbation otherwise known as neo-conservatism, right wing radio, and uninformed right wing bloggers?

  • Lumpy

    Gonzo. You think that hundreds pf thousnds dead in genocide, rape rooms, torture chambers and political murder is ‘under control’? Are u nuts?

    Alec. You’re clearly too ill informed on Islam and the middle east to engage in a discussion on this topic.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=gonzo%20marx gonzo marx

    Lumpy – cite your source for “hundreds of thousands” please…just as i would ask someone who made unfounded claims as to how many Iraqis have been killed since the invasion..i gotta ask you to show your numbers…

    we know about gassing the Kurds….about 6000 or so if memory serves…you cannot be seriously getting numbers from the 8 year Iran-Iraq war, can you? would be silly since we sold him the weapons (and probably that gas too)

    during the time between Gulf War 1 and the current Invasion…that is the crucial number…compare that to the folks killed since

    a cold calculation, yes…but there you have it, and the approach i proposed would have caught bin Laden , Mullah Omar and the rest first, then you could have dealt with Iraq if deemed needed

    THAT is “clever”, imo

    Excelsior?

  • STM

    In my view, Iraq would benefit hugely from the inclusion of a Union Jack in the corner of its flag. It qualifies too, having once been a British protectorate.

    What do you think, Doc? :)

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Stan, isn’t that true of most countries?

    Gonzo, I’ve seen death figures much higher than a few hundred thousand. During the period of the oil for food program it’s estimated that 500,000 people died because of inadequate food supplies while Saddam was using the proceeds of the program to build more palaces.

    And your figure of 6000 for the Kurds reminds me of the nazi sympathizers who minimize the number of jews killed in the holocaust.

    In fact, about 100,000 Kurds were killed in 1988-89 – mostly not gassed but shot and buried in mass graves. 60,000 Shiites were killed in reprisals after the first gulf war. Kidnappings and political murder in the general population account for at least 100,000 more. A widely accepted overall death count not including starvation or war deaths is about 300,000 during the course of Saddam’s regime. If you add in starvation and war casualties the total is about a million.

    Dave

  • http://adreamersholiday.blogspot.com Lee Richards

    Dave,

    You forgot to answer Ruvy’s question in #6: “How would you define rabble?”

  • http://LesPaulisanexcellentguitarplayerwithanadmirablegraspofgoodjazz. bliffle

    Anyone notice that the Loyal Royal Iraqi parliament is taking a month off while US soldiers continue to die? Is that what the ‘surge’ was for? To give Iraq politicians room to go on vacation? I though the ‘surge’ was to provide slack so they could find political solutions.

    Are the Iraqis laughing at us? What fools we must appear to them that they dare to affront us like this.

    Can anyone believe that ANY bunch of Iraqi politicians could agree on anything (other than taking a long vacation, that is)?

    The reponse of the Slacker-In-Chief is to take (another) vacation himself.

  • Dr Dreadful

    #13: Yes, Stan, that is true, and I think in their heart of hearts the Iraqis know it. I seem to remember that after the invasion, the British troops in Basra were a hell of a lot more popular with the locals than the American troops in Baghdad were. Now, of course, they’ll just shoot at anything wearing combat fatigues, including each other. Oh well – nice while it lasted! ;-(

  • Silver Surfer

    I notice the boys and girls have been badgering you into writing some yarns. You should – it’s fun, and the rest of us would like it too.

    Even moonraven, possibly :)

  • Alec

    Lumpy – RE: Alec. You’re clearly too ill informed on Islam and the middle east to engage in a discussion on this topic.

    I didn’t realize that your were a professional comedian. Your unsubstantiated belief in an Islamic threa should have been a tip off.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Just one more reason why Lumpy should be president. We’ve got a comedian in the White House right now: there’s a lot to be said for smooth continuity.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Anyone notice that the Loyal Royal Iraqi parliament is taking a month off while US soldiers continue to die? Is that what the ‘surge’ was for? To give Iraq politicians room to go on vacation? I though the ‘surge’ was to provide slack so they could find political solutions.

    A month of vacation is an opportunity for those politicians to go back to their local constituencies and try to gauge the willingness of local leaders to back them up and to assess the mood of the public. I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing at all. If they come back more willing to work together than they were before the vacation then the result will have been positive.

    The reponse of the Slacker-In-Chief is to take (another) vacation himself.

    Don’t forget that Congress is taking the month off too.

    Dave

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    You forgot to answer Ruvy’s question in #6: “How would you define rabble?”

    In the context of my original comment, the ‘rabble’ is the element of the population which follows the leadership of demagogues. They are those people who are easily swayed by emotion and irrational fear adn driven into a frenzy over the outrage of the hour. Contrary to Ruvy’s suggestion it is not a social class, but a class defined by its mentality – that of the mindless follower.

    Dave

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    There ain’t NO proven threat of Islamic terrorism. The only question is how long conservatives are going to continue to delude themselves about this.

    He’s not entirely wrong, but the threat of terrorism is only a symptom of the problem. The root problem would more properly be called Islamocentrism and the desire of powerful groups within islam to reestablish the Caliphate and take on a larger role on the world stage. Their tools for accomplishing this are the unifying power of hatred for Israel and by associatio the US. The main stumbling block is that they can’t agree on whether the Sunnis or Shiites should be in charge and are willing to fight amongst themselves to work that out.

    The rest of your comment is so bizarre and has such a skewed perspective on reality that I’m not even sure how to respond to it. It comebines so much ignorance of the Islamic world with such crazy statements that I’m not sure where to start. Maybe I’ll just hit a couple of high points.

    The godless secular West is not going to convert to Islam anytime soon.

    So? The choice is ‘submission or death’ and many prefer that we choose death. What westerners actually want doesn’t factor into the equation.
    There really is no competent army anywhere in the Muslim world,

    You don’t need a competent army to launch a nuclear missile. You just need a few guys who can do some basic math and computer programming.

    and Islamic fundamentalism is incompatible with a professional military.

    I don’t see any evidence of this at all. There’s absolutely no reason why that has to be the case. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard have demonstrated themselves to be quite competent from what I’ve seen of their work in Lebanon. Historically some of the best armies in the world have been composed of fanatics.

    Even Saddam’s supposedly capable army proved to be a mirage, in part because Saddam didn’t trust any of his officers enough to let them develop their units into capable, professional forces.

    Which has zero to do with Islam. Saddam was a secular atheist and ran his country and his military that way. The failure of a secular army of Arabs doesn’t tell us anything about the potential for competence of an army of fundamentalist muslims.

    Yes, there can be serious, deadly terrorist threats. But have years of suicide bombers and other attacks brought Israel down? The short answer, of course, is no.

    And this means that you’d like the US to experience the same thing?

    Islamic fundamentalism has had some success in under-developed regions such as Darfur. But that’s about it.

    Islamic fundamentalist control the government of IRAN for christ’s sake. It’s the most educated, technologically advanced, culturally sophisticated and organized country in the region. It’s more advanced than some of the countries recently let into the EU.

    Given an opportunity to rebuild their country after the fall of Saddam, Iraqi Sunni and Shiite extremists chase moderates out of the country and then set on each other like rabid dogs, more interested in killing each other than in ejecting the US from the country.

    If this is the level of your understanding of what’s going on in Iraq, no wonder you sound like such a lunatic. What’s going on in Iraq has very little to do with the Iraqi people. It’s a struggle between Iran and Saudi Arabia representing the extremist factions of Shiism and Sunnism respectively. The Iraqis are just caught in the middle.

    there might be an hysterical call to simply take over the oil fields in the Middle East and to launch punitive strikes against various Middle Eastern regimes. And if this kind of retribution were to be unleashed, what, exactly, could any Muslim country do to prevent it?

    Set the oil fields on fire, nuke Israel, and defeat the US army in a pitched battle if the target was Iran. Our military is NOT capable of launching a successful invasion of Iran.

    And so, I ask, exactly where is this supposed Islamic threat, except in the intellectual masturbation otherwise known as neo-conservatism, right wing radio, and uninformed right wing bloggers?

    The neocons have some very bad ideas based on an insane ideology, but to their credit they at least did what you haven’t done, which is to make some effort to study the situation in the middle east and come to grips with what’s really going on there and what the real dangers are.

    Dave

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=gonzo%20marx gonzo marx

    @ #16 – not trying to argue figures, i was actually using the SAME argument that you and others used when some claimed the death toll of Iraqi civilians was hundreds of thousands since the invasion…

    show, or link you sources please

    because i still have yet to see solid number for EITHER of the time periods i mention…

    oh yes, and nice fucking job attempting to conflate me with Holocaust deniers…you just can’t resist stooping to such gutter tactics, can you?

    Excelsior?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=gonzo%20marx gonzo marx

    “The neocons have some very bad ideas based on an insane ideology, but to their credit they at least did what you haven’t done, which is to make some effort to study the situation in the middle east and come to grips with what’s really going on there and what the real dangers are.”

    and now we have proof of just how dangerous some fanatics with no solid basis in Reality can fuck things up, even if they are from a Western Democracy…don’t we?

    it’s called Iraq, and one can make an Argument that what has been done there, by those fanatics has been just as damaging as anything else could have been (not the worst case scenario, but pretty damn close, and can still possibly get worse)

    so..for all their “study”..they still had no clue as to hwo Sunni and Shi’a would “get along”, about how Turkey would feel concerning independent Kurds…and of course just how much “freedom is messy” as per Rumsfeld…

    no defense for the indefensible, imo…especially since the objectives are still such a long way off in the future and NOTHING has gone the way those “fanatics” have predicted it would…

    yet still and all, some continue to think that those fanatics had the “right idea” and a “good plan” and continue to defend them

    Excelsior?

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Dave, your index of what constitutes “rabble” or is very tricky. I would translate it as sheeple. What constitutes sheeple, Dave?

    In my eyes, sheeple are those who can’t seem to get past “conventional” opinion, who can’t get past “conventional” solutions or think outside the box. In my eyes most of the MSM are sheeple who think they are smarter than all the other sheeple – that’s all. They seem unable or unwilling to think outside the box at all. Be-e-e-eh!!

    As a result, you never get a solution; all you do is chew on the cud that passes for news in the papers, and get – nowhere.

  • Lumpy

    Alec. The fact that you see the threat of radical islam as “unsubstantiated” just proves my point that you are uninformed. That requires more than just ignorance. It’s more like an intentional denial of reality. just by reading my local paper I can get a clearer view of reality than u seem to have, though I admit it’s one of the best papers in the nation.

  • REMF

    “It comebines so much…”
    – Dave Nalle

    And you were an English major?
    (MCH)

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Ruvy, ‘sheeple’ is a politically loaded and more or less unusable term since it was coopted by Rush Limbaugh. Plus, ‘rabble’ has a good history to it, and it’s descriptive of actions rather than a social class. If I’d meant a social class I’d have used a term like ‘proles’.

    Dave

  • http://adreamersholiday.blogspot.com Lee Richards

    RE #22:

    Dave,

    Who, in your opinion, was the best president of the 20th century?

    Wasn’t he elected by the votes of the “rabble” too? As their chosen leader does that make him, by definition, a demagogue? (Democracy=rule by rabble, i.e. mindless followers of demagogues–your equation.)

    Do you dislike democracy because it confers too many freedoms on rabble? Or because it doesn’t give enough control to the non-rabble?

    What do you suggest be done about the rabble, anyway?

    Lastly, what do you propose in place of American democracy?

  • Clavos

    “Do you dislike democracy because it confers too many freedoms on rabble?”

    I know you didn’t ask me, but here’s my two cents worth:

    I dislike “Democracy” as currently practiced in America (which is actually a federalist representative republic) because it takes away freedoms from the rabble (of which I am one), and vests them in the government; which I believe to be the greatest enemy of the American people, because it not only takes our freedoms, but also steals our money and our property.

  • http://adreamersholiday.blogspot.com Lee Richards

    Clavos,

    So democracy( or the federalist representative republic)in America isn’t worth keeping, having, or defending any more?

    What form of government do you propose in its place?

  • Lumpy

    Democracy does not “give rights” to anyone. The possession of fundamental rights is inherent to the human condition. If anything democracy empowers the majority to take away the rights of minorities. The reason we have a government answerable to the constitution rather than just to the voters is to protect our rights from those who would usw rhe powwr of dwmocracy to take them away.

  • http://adreamersholiday.blogspot.com Lee Richards

    Lumpy,

    So you think the rights of minorities are better protected from abuse by the majority in a non-democratic society?

    Are inherent fundamental human rights less or more protected in a democracy than a non-democracy, in your opinion?

    How answerable to the Constitution would government be without voters with the power to change the government?

  • Lumpy

    There is a difference between a Democracy and a representative government which holds regular elections, Lee. Just as there is a difference between a democracy and a socialist state even though many socialist nations hold elections.

    Small ‘d’ democracy is juat a way of selecting leaders. Big ‘d’ Democracy is government at the whim of the majority.

  • http://adreamersholiday.blogspot.com Lee Richards

    Lumpy,

    Please tell me from what dictionary you get your small d, capital D definitions of democracy.

    Are you saying that no socialist state can be a democracy?

    Could you answer more directly my questions in #34?

  • STM

    Here we go again … stop splitting hairs, Lumpy – we all know the US is a representative republic, just as are a representative constitutional monarchy.

    However, both are still democracies (and operate in near identical fashion, with a few small differences), as countless US presidents have stated and continue to state to this day. It’s all semantics, and tiresome, and another example of navel gazing that might in some way explain why the US is becoming stuck even further in the mire of its own isolationism.

  • Clavos

    The tone of your comments seems to imply that you consider democracy to be a good form of government, Lee.

    Why?

  • Clavos

    “So democracy( or the federalist representative republic)in America isn’t worth keeping, having, or defending any more?”

    No. No. Defending from whom?

    “What form of government do you propose in its place?”

    As little as possible, and republican (not Republican), and which governs only by the consent of the governed.

    Our present democracy, which claims to be a “liberal democracy,” is rapidly becoming illiberal and a tyranny of the majority, especially in the social aspects of the society.

    Increasingly, we are expected to suppress our individualism in favor of the “greater good.” The individual states, once nearly autonomous, are now constantly superseded by the Federal government; even in such minor matters as speed limits on the highways.

    Unfortunately, the majority is seldom correct in its thinking and goals, and inevitably becomes tyrannical and inimical to minorities.

    Which is why I don’t think our “democracy” is “worth keeping, having, or defending any more.”

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=gonzo%20marx gonzo marx

    “Unfortunately, the majority is seldom correct in its thinking and goals, and inevitably becomes tyrannical and inimical to Individuals.”

    there…fiXt it fer ya;

    heh

    Excelsior?

  • Clavos

    Looove that dog!!!

  • Clavos

    Oh, and thanx – good fix…

  • http://adreamersholiday.blogspot.com Lee Richards

    Re #38: (“Why”?)

    Compared to others, it has a pretty good track record.

  • Clavos

    Depends on the “democracy.”

    I doubt the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is a pleasant place to live.

    And our “democracy,” as I’ve noted above, leaves a lot to be desired, IMO; mostly because it was never intended to be a democracy in the first place.

  • Lumpy

    Re: 37.

    For definitions of democracy see the American Heritage dictionary, definitions 1 and 4.

    And didn’t I already say clearly that a socialist state can be democratic, even if it is not a democracy? which it cannot be as to be socialist it has to put the good of society as a whole as established by an objective standard ahead of the rule of the majority.

    As to your questions in 34, the answers ought to be obvious. Democracy protects the rights and interests of no one but the majority. The constitution works not because of the voters but because of the division of powers within the government.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Our present democracy, which claims to be a “liberal democracy,” is rapidly becoming illiberal and a tyranny of the majority, especially in the social aspects of the society.

    Nothing wrong with the liberal part. It’s the replacement of the liberalism with socialism and the republicanism with democracy which is the root problem.

    Dave

  • http://adreamersholiday.blogspot.com Lee Richards

    Clavos,

    You make some good points.

    I just agree with Churchill more than I can agree with you.

  • http://warpages-leejay.blogspot.com Liam Bailey

    I’ll answer your comment briefly Ruvy. 99.99 percent of the human population of the entire earth would need to die suddenly before I would look to you for an opinion on the level of intelligence contained on my Middle East articles — or any other article for that matter. There is no worse corruption to genuine opinion than a bias burned into the soul…And no better indicator than a compliment used in attack.

  • Alec

    Dave Nalle – RE: He’s not entirely wrong, but the threat of terrorism is only a symptom of the problem. The root problem would more properly be called Islamocentrism and the desire of powerful groups within islam to reestablish the Caliphate and take on a larger role on the world stage.

    The correct analogy here is the old promise made by the Soviets that they would bury us. The dreams of the ultimate world-wide success of communism fell far short of its reality, and ended with its repudiation by the vast majority of those who lived under it. Although there were Western governments with communists in parliament and other positions of authority, no industrialized nation (the US, Britain, France, Japan, etc) ever became a communist country. Islamocentrism may have deep and powerful fantasies about the re-establishment of the Caliphate, but history has already passed them by. The only people who take this stuff seriously are neo-cons who really need to get out more. A restored Caliphate would at worst be nothing more than an Islamic Vatican with suicide bombers, destructive, but ultimately irrelevant.

    RE: The rest of your comment is so bizarre and has such a skewed perspective on reality that I’m not even sure how to respond to it. It comebines so much ignorance of the Islamic world with such crazy statements that I’m not sure where to start. Maybe I’ll just hit a couple of high points.

    Thanks for the opportunity to knock all your points out of the ballpark. I just love it when someone accuses me of ignorance (complete with bad spelling!). This is going to be easier than Tiger Woods’s recent schooling of Rory Sabbatini. Please pay attention:

    RE: So? The choice is ‘submission or death’ and many prefer that we choose death. What westerners actually want doesn’t factor into the equation.

    What the West (and China and Japan) wants is only what matters. Radical Muslims can neither make us submit nor kill us. Americans love pleasure too much, and they love most of all to be left alone. What could radical Muslims possibly use to make us submit? Where are their landing boats, aircraft carriers, fighter jets, strategic bombers, submarines, mobile modern army? Hell, the power of Paris Hilton is greater than a pack of rabid Islamic fundamentalists? Many Americans laugh at Christian fundamentalists. Islamic fundamentalism is too foreign to our character to be even remotely attractive to potential converts, and these people lack any power to coerce us into following the totally backward aspects of their faith.

    RE: You don’t need a competent army to launch a nuclear missile. You just need a few guys who can do some basic math and computer programming.

    Absolute, total nonsense. The North Koreans could barely launch a missile during their recent saber rattling. Developing a stable, launchable ICBM – one capable of reaching us — requires a degree of weapons systems sophistication that the Muslims do not possess. The work that Bechtel, for example, has done de-commissioning nuclear weapons under the Nunn Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction program gives a reverse-engineering kind of idea of how complex these missile systems are. We ended up helping the former Soviets de-commission missiles from the Ukraine and other areas because even the Russians lacked the infrastructure to handle the task. See this site for more information on this: http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/ukraine/index.html

    The Muslims would probably end up poisoning themselves with the heptyl used in SS-19 missiles long before they could be a threat to us.

    RE: I don’t see any evidence of this (Islamic fundamentalism is incompatible with a professional military) at all. There’s absolutely no reason why that has to be the case. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard have demonstrated themselves to be quite competent from what I’ve seen of their work in Lebanon. Historically some of the best armies in the world have been composed of fanatics.

    OK. Maybe the Iranians could fight Italy, for a while. But NATO? Muslim armies are incompetent outside of the Middle East. Saddam Hussein supposedly had a fearsome army, but the Iranians fought him to a draw, and even here both sides blundered through a long and messy war using World War I era tactics; and even here we had to step in and lend Iraq support. Supporting the independence of Bangladesh, the Indian Army kicked Pakistan’s ass in 1971 and took 90,000 prisoners of war – in fourteen days. By the way, the US foolishly backed Pakistan in this conflict. Some people never learn.

    Even the wealthy Saudis do not build a military themselves, but instead buy from us. Again, what exactly are we suppose to fear?

    Consider history: The July/August issue of “Military History” Magazine has an interesting piece, “Policing the Empire,” on how the British used the RAF to extend its power in the Middle East, a precursor to some of our contemporary dilemmas.

    Armies have been composed of fanatics but, especially in modern times, fanatical generals can win battles, but rarely entire wars. The fanatical Khmer Rouge got rolled over by the North Vietnamese army in 1978. In WWII, the Allies got great unintentional support from Hitler’s insane decision to overrule his generals.

    RE: [Even Saddam’s supposedly capable army proved to be a mirage]… Which has zero to do with Islam. Saddam was a secular atheist and ran his country and his military that way. The failure of a secular army of Arabs doesn’t tell us anything about the potential for competence of an army of fundamentalist muslims.

    Saddam ran his army like a paranoid, so fearful of a possible coup that he undermined his military. A fundamentalist army whose generals feared running afoul of pointless religious restrictions and the idea that martyrdom can be effective military strategy would face the same kinds of problems. The Japanese thought that the example of the kamikaze pilots would frighten us. We just thought that they were fools throwing their lives away. Unless the mullahs show some other strategic insight, the centrality of martyrdom to their world view pretty much guarantees the failure of any military campaign they might try to mount.

    RE: [Yes, there can be serious, deadly terrorist threats. But have years of suicide bombers and other attacks brought Israel down? The short answer, of course, is no]. And this means that you’d like the US to experience the same thing?

    Of course not. Bush and the Republican candidates are promising perpetual war, and point to Britain’s stiff-upper-lip resolve in the face of terrorist bombings as an example for the American people to emulate. Conservative commentators like Michael Medved and Dennis Prager continually point to how Israel does not let terrorists affect the essential nature of Israeli society. They talk again and again about how terrorist attacks in India have done nothing to bring democracy there down. If you don’t like this, your arguments are with conservative commentators, not with me.

    RE: Islamic fundamentalist control the government of IRAN for christ’s sake. It’s the most educated, technologically advanced, culturally sophisticated and organized country in the region. It’s more advanced than some of the countries recently let into the EU.

    I’m still waiting for you to name an advanced Western country that has fallen to Islam. What happens in Middle Eastern countries that are already Islamic does not really matter for my purposes here.

    RE: If this is the level of your understanding of what’s going on in Iraq, no wonder you sound like such a lunatic. What’s going on in Iraq has very little to do with the Iraqi people. It’s a struggle between Iran and Saudi Arabia representing the extremist factions of Shiism and Sunnism respectively. The Iraqis are just caught in the middle.

    The last time I checked, Muqtada al-Sadr was still an Iraqi, and still knee-deep in the ethnic cleansing of Sunnis. By the way, since Saudi Arabia is supporting one extremist faction, why are they still our eternal allies? And if the Iraqis are such weak sisters, caught in the middle of the conflict and unable to form a stable political society, why should be continue to back them?

    RE: Set the oil fields on fire, nuke Israel, and defeat the US army in a pitched battle if the target was Iran. Our military is NOT capable of launching a successful invasion of Iran.

    Please provide the citation of any Bush Administration official and any US military official who has ever categorically stated that we cannot launch a successful invasion of Iran. You can’t do it because no such statement has ever been made.

    RE: [And so, I ask, exactly where is this supposed Islamic threat] The neocons have some very bad ideas based on an insane ideology, but to their credit they at least did what you haven’t done, which is to make some effort to study the situation in the middle east and come to grips with what’s really going on there and what the real dangers are.

    Yawn. Once again, you have absolutely no idea what I have studied, where I have traveled or what I know, or what resources I may have access to. On the other hand, we have all kinds of corroborated documentation that the Bush Administration and his neo-con goons ignored the analysts and historians at the CIA and the State Department and pushed a policy based on the fantasy of a reverse-domino theory, that all of the Middle East authoritarian regimes would magically transform themselves into democracies after Saddam was toppled. They also pushed the stupid, insipid fantasy that just because we were the lone superpower that we could do anything and everyone else would subjugate their own sense of destiny to our own national interests. On the other hand, delusions about a restored Caliphate are not based on any kind of informed speculation, but on the infantile fantasy that suitcase nukes and an army of jihadists will be transported to the US on magic carpets. Some conservatives apparently need a bogeyman to fear now that the Soviet Union has collapsed. But every shred of available evidence show that Islamic fundamentalists are more of a threat to one another than to the US (threats to Israel are another matter, are not relevant to my main argument).

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Thanks for the opportunity to knock all your points out of the ballpark. I just love it when someone accuses me of ignorance (complete with bad spelling!). This is going to be easier than Tiger Woods’s recent schooling of Rory Sabbatini. Please pay attention:

    Nice to see that the ignorance has now been joined by arrogance, mixed metaphors and grammatical errors. Certainly sets me trembling with fear.

    What the West (and China and Japan) wants is only what matters. Radical Muslims can neither make us submit nor kill us. Americans love pleasure too much, and they love most of all to be left alone. What could radical Muslims possibly use to make us submit? Where are their landing boats, aircraft carriers, fighter jets, strategic bombers, submarines, mobile modern army?

    Again, your vision is too limited and your ignorance too great. Muslims have already infiltrated a number of western countries just by immigrating. They don’t need planes or boats, they’re already there, demanding special rights and trying to warp other cultures which are vulnerable through the disease of political correctness.

    And as for how they can make America submit, all they need to do is keep hammering us long enough and we’ll eventually capitulate and agree to leave them alone. Look at what’s happening with the antiwar faction in America today. There’s always a faction who would rather surrender and fight. We might not be forcibly converted, but we CAN be bullied into turning a blind eye and leaving them alone.

    Absolute, total nonsense. The North Koreans could barely launch a missile during their recent saber rattling.

    Absolute, total ignorance. I didn’t say a word about DEVELOPING a missile, I just said launching one. The Koreans had trouble because they developed their own launch system. The iranians can (and likely have) bought the technology they need. They have bought entire missiles and missile technology from China, plus 18 fully operational long-range cruise missiles from the Ukraine, fissionables from a variety of sources, processing equipment through Germany and Russia. Actually building a bomb isn’t that terribly challenging as various projects and physics graduate students have demonstrated. The difficult part is getting the materials and Iran has that problem solved. In fact, nuclear security is poor enough that they could very well buy a warhead to put in those cruise missiles from a sympathetic government or a corrupt or fanatical official.

    The Muslims would probably end up poisoning themselves with the heptyl used in SS-19 missiles long before they could be a threat to us.

    Your ignorance is exceeded only by your racism. These aren’t primitive savages in loincloths living in the desert. There are the fucking Iranians. Learn something about the people, the nation, the culture and how educated and competent they are before you start running your mouth (or keyboard) in your colossal ignroance. Pakistan has nukes, remamber? Iran is about twice as advanced in education and technology as Pakistan. The only reason they didn’t have nukes 20 years ago is that the US influence held them back while the Shah was in power.

    OK. Maybe the Iranians could fight Italy, for a while. But NATO? Muslim armies are incompetent outside of the Middle East. Saddam Hussein supposedly had a fearsome army, but the Iranians fought him to a draw, and even here both sides blundered through a long and messy war using World War I era tactics; and even here we had to step in and lend Iraq support. Supporting the independence of Bangladesh, the Indian Army kicked Pakistan’s ass in 1971 and took 90,000 prisoners of war – in fourteen days. By the way, the US foolishly backed Pakistan in this conflict. Some people never learn.

    Again, you’re confusing Iran with Pakistan and Iraq. Iran may not be ready to fight the US, but it’s more than capable of handling any of its neighbors and way more than capable of defending its own territory.

    All of your cultural and ethno-centric writing off of fanatics in the military doesn’t take into consideration that not all Iranians are fanatics, and that Hitler and the Nazis were about as fanatical as they come and that didn’t slow them down for a minute.

    I’m not suggesting that Iran can conquer the world, just that it’s a much more serious regional and international threat than you realize.

    I’m still waiting for you to name an advanced Western country that has fallen to Islam.

    Westernized and advanced arab nations have fallen to it. Give it time. Let the immigrants keep flowing into France and Germany and check back with me in a decade.

    What happens in Middle Eastern countries that are already Islamic does not really matter for my purposes here.

    What ARE your purposes here?

    The last time I checked, Muqtada al-Sadr was still an Iraqi, and still knee-deep in the ethnic cleansing of Sunnis.

    And your point is? He’s an Iranian agent. He spends most of his time hiding out IN Iran with the support of their government.

    By the way, since Saudi Arabia is supporting one extremist faction, why are they still our eternal allies?

    Don’t ask me this question. It baffles me as much as anything. I assume it’s the old ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’ principle, but it’s a weak argument.

    And if the Iraqis are such weak sisters, caught in the middle of the conflict and unable to form a stable political society, why should be continue to back them?

    What would you suggest is the alternative? We can back the Iraqis or we can leave and see who wins. My money is on Iran.

    Please provide the citation of any Bush Administration official and any US military official who has ever categorically stated that we cannot launch a successful invasion of Iran. You can’t do it because no such statement has ever been made.

    I’m sure we could invade successfully, at a cost so high that it would devastate the country and destroy the presidency of anyone who tried it. The pentagon has already told Bush that a land invasion is impossible and suggested massive airstrikes instead. You can look that one up yourself, it was in this weeks newspapers.

    Yawn. Once again, you have absolutely no idea what I have studied, where I have traveled or what I know, or what resources I may have access to.

    True. All I know was that it wasn’t sufficient to make you any less ignorant or familiarize you much with the region you’re talking about.

    What we also know is that you repeat dogmatic talking points and display very little original thought.

    Dave